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Barriers perceived to engaging with climate change among the UK public and their policy implications

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Keirstead, J.


Global Environment Change, Volume 17, Number 3, p.445-459 (2007)



This paper reports on the barriers that members of the UK public perceive to engaging with climate change. It draws upon three mixed-method studies, with an emphasis on the qualitative data which offer an in-depth insight into how people make sense of climate change. The paper defines engagement as an individual's state, comprising three elements: cognitive, affective and behavioural. A number of common barriers emerge from the three studies, which operate broadly at ëindividualí and ësocialí levels. These major constraints to individual engagement with climate change have implications for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gases in the UK. We argue that targeted and tailored information provision should be supported by wider structural change to enable citizens and communities to reduce their carbon dependency. Policy implications for effective engagement are discussed.